Analysts Get Hit By Cluestick?

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Some headlines of note:

Linux Beacon: Linux Market to Triple by 2012
(March 11)
ZDNet: Gartner
Report Forecasts Bad News, Good News for Open Source
IDC: Linux-Related Spending Could Top $49B by 2011
Between the
Lines: Gartner: Windows Collapsing Under Its Own Weight; Radical
Change Needed
(April 9)

See the pattern? It might not be entirely evident from the
headlines, but if you read the articles, it will become immediately
clear: these positive statements about Linux and negative
statements about Windows are courtesy of analysts.

What’s going on here? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Did (as
some wags amongst us might suggest) Redmond forget to send in a
check? Or is it, as we all have known for what seems like forever,
the inevitability of open source and Linux as a force to contend
with in IT?

I tend to believe in the latter. As many readers know, I have
never been one to put much stock in the universal “bought and paid
for” mentality that many in the open source community have about
analysts and their sponsors. I will certainly concede that it is a
problem in certain instances, but no industry is perfect and people
do use poor judgment.

That said, I don’t think that all analysts everywhere are up for
sale. Most of the analysts I know tend to be honest and try to do
their best reporting what they perceive are the facts.

It should be noted that the IDC report about Linux-related
spending hitting nearly $50 billion in three years was sponsored by
the Linux Foundation, and presented to their Collaboration Summit’s
audience this week. Based on the information in the articles, it is
not known who sponsored the Research and Markets report and the two
Gartner reports. You can bet, however, if they were sponsored, it
wasn’t by Redmond. When analysts deliver negative reports, they
hardly ever see the light of day.

So, can we take all of this good news at face value? Obviously,
I would like to think so, and so would many of you. But, like many
analyst reports, it should not be taken as gospel, even if we
really like the message that’s being delivered.

Any analyst report is based on what’s known at the present time.
It’s a sure bet that companies negatively impacted by these reports
will try to adjust their strategies, and in six months we might
have a whole new set of predictions.

Still, like the aviation metaphor I used last week regarding
desktop surveys, I think we should all pay attention to the broader
trend that’s being shown now: that Linux is on a clear path to the
future and (in its present form) Windows’ path is more

That’s a take-away many of us should appreciate.